You know your mate who thinks they’re really good at impressions? The one with the ‘great Ed Miliband’, who insisted on boorishly squeezing it into every conversation on the election. You know how initially it’s sort of funny just how bad their accents are? The fact that their ‘South African’ actually sounds Scottish, and ‘Cheryl Cole’ sounds Texan? But then they mistake your pitying laughter for actual enjoyment and keep going. Forever. It never stops. You stop mentioning bacon for fear of a joke about Jamaican beer cans that sounds like it’s been lifted from a German bar. You stop watching films ‘cause they talk over the whole thing and butcher every line in the script. You enter a cultural void through fear of all the moments you may enjoy being ham-fistedly regurgitated in your face every Friday evening. That mate? That’s The Darkness.
The Darkness are at their worst when doing an impression of themselves.
Everything on ‘Last Of Our Kind’ is a straight rip of something executed far better elsewhere - from guitar tones that at times evoke the reverbier moments on ‘Undertow’ (sorry Drenge lads, still big fans of what you’re doing) during ‘Open Fire’, through to Pantera’s cutting room floor being swept up for the riffing of ‘Mighty Wings’, it’s an audible timeline of every teenage garage band and their shoddy imitations of influences.
Of course, The Darkness were always a pastiche, but fifteen years into their career (brief hiatus aside), there seems to have been a conscious removal of tongue from cheek. The falsetto is pulled back and the catsuits are less sparkly, and in their place stands a well-worn, yet inexplicably successful pub band, and their desperate attempts to cling to relevancy.
Ultimately, it turns out The Darkness are at their worst when doing an impression of themselves, which is exactly what ‘Last Of Our Kind’ is. A shoddy, Twitter parody account of a joke that was last funny a decade ago - it’s your mate trying to get post-modern. For the sake of pub jukeboxes and begrudging friendships alike, let’s hope the title is literal.